A former Hollywood executive was arrested on suspicion of pocketing coronavirus relief funds for personal expenses after receiving more than $ 1.7 million in loans, which he said would be wrong for commercial activities, federal prosecutors announced Friday.
William Sadleir, 66, of Beverly Hills, was laid off from Rowing Pictures late last year, but said he was still working for the film production company when he applied for federal loans to Help businesses get through the pandemic, the Justice Department said in a statement. .
Sadleir was arrested on Friday morning without incident and charged with bank fraud, bank fraud, false statements to a financial institution and false statements to the Small Business Administration.
If convicted on all four counts, he faces up to 82 years in federal prison. Defense lawyer for Sadleir could not be reached for comment.
Sadleir, who last month asked for repayable loans under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act, falsely claimed that the funds would go to salary costs, officials said. The paycheck protection program loan proceeds are to be used for business expenses, such as payroll, rent, mortgage and utilities.
Sadleir is charged with submitting the loans on behalf of Rowing Pictures.
Aviron Pictures, which told investigators that Sadleir no longer had a role in the business, could not be reached for comment. Films produced by the company include “Kidnap”, “Serenity” and “The Strangers: Prey at Night”, according to Rowing Pictures website.
The relief funds went to three different entities affiliated with Aviron; Sadleir has transferred nearly a million dollars to his personal bank accounts, officials said. Sadleir then used the money to pay off his credit cards and a payment of $ 40,000 for his car loan.
These funds were designed to be a lifeline for companies struggling to stay afloat during the current crisis, said Paul Delacourt, deputy director of the FBI at the Los Angeles Field Office, in a statement. The FBI is committed to maintaining the integrity of the PPP and will hold accountable those who cheat the system at the expense of American taxpayers.
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